Pence: Senate’s Close to Moving Forward With Graham-Cassidy Bill ‘As We Speak’


Vice President Mike Pence told an Indiana audience the Senate was close to moving forward with the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal "as we speak" Friday,  just hours after Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) put the bill in peril by announcing he couldn't support it.

Speaking in Anderson, Indiana, to tout President Donald Trump's push for tax reform, Pence spent a few minutes on health care and sounded optimistic.

"The good news is the Senate's close to moving forward with legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare as we speak," Pence said. "President Trump and I firmly believe that the Graham-Cassidy bill is the right bill at the right time to repeal and replace Obamacare."

However, McCain announced Friday afternoon that he could not support the bill sponsored by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.), saying he wanted to see health insurance legislation be the product of "regular order."

"I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal," McCain said. "I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried."

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) has already indicated he opposes the bill as insufficient in repealing Obamacare.  This means one more Republican "no" vote would effectively kill the legislation, assuming no Democrats voted for it.

Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) is reportedly leaning towards voting against the bill as well.

Pence said the vote on the bill could be as early as next week and wouldn't be easy.

"President Trump and I are undeterred. We cannot in good conscience abandon this cause," he said.

Pence called a vote against Graham-Cassidy a vote to save Obamacare, and he said the Senate Republican majority was elected to repeal the law.

"It's time for every member of the Republican majority to keep their word to the American people," Pence said.

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